My blog tends to be pretty updated with my life, but this post is one I’ve been putting off for a while. I went to Peru over spring break with MIT D-Lab to work on a solar cooker project in the Andes. I was extremely busy basically up until a few hours before I left so I had no time to think about what I was doing or where I was going except for technical preparations, but I soon found myself a 5 hour drive away from the nearest city without showers, internet, and other luxuries.
Since this is technically my photography blog (heh), I’ll explain my equipment for the following stream of pictures. I brought a Contax G1 I bought around 2.5 years ago in Hong Kong. It has a 45mm f/2 and I actually have only used it one time before this trip and was uncertain about its functionality. It was the newest and most durable film camera I had with me at school, so I figured when better to figure it out than on a 10 week trip of a lifetime. 8 rolls Ektar 100, 2 rolls Superia 400, 2 rolls Astia 400. I had a few fears to overcome to put down my X100 or another digital camera, but I did not know whether I would have electricity, so bringing film seemed like the simplest and most reasonable option.
I haven’t spoken a word of Spanish since sophomore year of high school, so needless to say I was extremely rusty. We flew from Boston to Miami, Miami to Lima, Lima to Cusco, and drove from Cusco to Quehue over the course of thirty something hours. I was too excited to be tired.
I feel like I missed out on quite a bit because of my lack of Spanish ability, but the locals were really welcoming and I didn’t die of vegan starvation, which is always appreciated. The point of our visit was to interview the local families about their cooking habits and gain a better understanding of their lifestyle, so we spent four days conducting user interviews. We were working with fellow engineering students from UTEC in Lima, and the trip was definitely significantly more rewarding with their presence. :)
We got to interact with so many local families in different villages. I learned so much (despite my language barrier) about life in the area and they took the time to teach us things like…tilling the soil (above) and harvesting quinoa. Also, SO MANY ANIMALS.
There were so many dogs that I wanted to do a series on stray dogs. It’s actually really interesting how none of them look alike and they’re basically adopted by a family that feeds them occasionally.
SO CUTE. Anyway, visiting so many homes definitely made me realize the extent of my own privilege. Even though some of them were missing things generally accepted as basic necessities, I also noticed that many of the locals seemed legitimately content, and it definitely made me think more about my life and what’s important to me.
Q’eswachaka! This is a ichu (grass) bridge built by the Incas.
The children might have been my favorite part.
Definitely a trip I will never forget. I am incredibly impressed by the Contax G1, and will try to use it more often. Ektar is beautiful. I had my film developed at TheFindLab (www.thefindlab.com) and I’d recommend. Pretty quick turnaround and high quality scans.
I hope you enjoyed this brief visual overview of my trip. For more pictures, visit http://www.wenzeng.net/peru .
If you’re still reading this, you’re the best <3 ! Have a nice day. :)